The next time you visit a local seniors' care home, check into a fresh room in a hotel, bite into a local peach or enjoy a sip of BC wine, you might want to consider the challenges facing the 6,000 migrant workers who deliver these services each year for our communities. 
On August 31st, we welcomed Hugo Velazquez to speak to us about about the work he leads to support migrant workers in our province.  Hugo is a lawyer, local Mexican diplomat and the Senior Manager of Community Outreach, Advocacy and Migrant Programs for MOSAIC BC.  
MOSAIC is the largest organization in Canada providing settlement support services for immigrants and new Canadians, including serving as the lead agency for Afghan and Ukrainian refugees in BC. MOSAIC's support services are delivered in English, French, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Tagalog and translation and interpretation support is also available in over 50 languages.
Hugo's team leads programs and advocacy services to address healthcare, housing and language needs for Temporary Foreign Workers (e.g. Online Learning and Mobile English programs, Conversation Circles).  He draws on his legal expertise in refugee, poverty and disability law along combined with his career experience as a Mexican diplomat in the course of his work. Recent activities and achievements by his team include:
  • Visiting workplaces (including 355 farms) in BC to collect migrant worker information for Canadian and foreign governments and to document the working and living conditions of migrant field workers.  
  • Reporting data and information to support compliance reporting and law suits involving abusive situations of temporary foreign workers, including cases of confinement, human trafficking, fraud, malnutrition and other physical harm. 
  • The creation of $100k Emergency Relief Fund, co-funded by the Clark Foundation and the federal government that is being used to provide urgent short-term needs of migrant workers and their families who have been affected by the pandemic, fires, floods and other disaster situations. 
Check out MOSAIC's many programs helping migrant workers and other newcomers to BC and please consider one of the many opportunities to volunteer your time and expertise to help out our fellow community members here: